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WSW: Author Says There's No Simple Answer for the Holocaust

Kalamazoo College

Author Doris Bergen uses the analogy of a house on fire to explain the origins of the Holocaust. 

The University of Toronto Professor says for a building to burn down you need dry timber (anti-Semitism, hatred, social tensions). But it needs a spark (leadership, in the case of World War II Nazi leadership in Germany). Bergen says the surrounding conditions, such as the weather are also important (on going war). 

Credit Michael Rajzman
Doris Bergen

Bergen will speak Thursday night April 16th at 7:00 in Dewing Hall at Kalamazoo College. Her address is called Holocaust or Genocide? Uniqueness and Universality. Bergen told WMUK's Gordon Evans that she wants to discuss how we think about different cases of extreme violence and murder. 

"Difficult complicated events have complicated causes."

70 years ago in April of 1945, Allied forces liberated multiple concentration camps, shining more light on the atrocities committed by Nazi forces. Bergen says finding the survivors was not the end of the story. She says even after the war people had lost their families and were trying to rebuild functioning societies. 

Interview with Doris Bergen - web version

Bergen says it's important to understand that the Holocaust happened "Step by Step." She says there is no simple answer as to why. "Difficult complicated events have complicated causes."

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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